I am still trying to get used to the new computer and internet stuff. My son is helping me, but I’m afraid I’m not a fast learner where computers are involved.

Oh well …

~~~

Last saturday we had a very short burst of precipitation. It feels a bit presumptuous to call it rain since there wasn’t enough to wet the ground under the big trees. The bulk of the “storm” front went to the north … Portland and Seattle had a good go. Regardless, it did clear the air and things smelled nice.

It broke the spell of dry and overly warm.

There have been some interesting side results of the weather. Several years ago, back when our springs and autumns were wet and winters snowy, I bought a slew of Dollar Tree umbrellas in plastic sleeves. I stashed them all over the place … beside each door, in the side pockets of the cars, in my carry-ons such as my radio purse, in my shopping bags, etc. I went to move one of them a couple of days ago and the plastic sleeve crumbled to small pieces in my hand. I didn’t try to open the umbrella. Guess I should. I may need to get some new ones.

~~~

Newest on the amateur radio front is that we recently received communication from the City of Mt Shasta about emergency planning. Years ago, George had put together a list of hams and their equipment available for communication in case the south county has road closures due to snow (such as we used to have every couple of years), a massive freeway accident incident, a wildfire, or even if the Mountain blows. The list he had provided was drastically outdated!

I spoke with the “Mt Shasta Police Department Dispatch Records Manager” to determine their needs. Turns out they just want to know approximately how many hams would be available and who to call in order to activate them. I guess news reports about hams being first on the air following a disaster, as well as on the air when cell phones are useless, has been noted and more people are acknowledging that cell phones are not the end-all solution. Folks who run the summer events learned that a few years ago.

I gave the city (and through them the entire south county) our current membership list with contact officers noted. At the next club meeting the club will be determining our role as a club and individual roles as well.

~~~

The smoke situation had been much the same until the “rain” … light haze most days. The smoke had been traveling north up Hwy 3 from Trinity County through Etna and then northeast along the Klamath River, so Happy Camp and Yreka were the ones in the unhealthy air zone.

~~~

Water level in the reservoir continues to drop.Durney MillThe mill pilings are now clearly visible … and note the dead trees.

~~~

A few months ago, when George was really out-of-commission, the batteries in our power bank were allowed to go dry. That is DEATH for batteries.

When we discovered why we were having trouble maintaining adequate power (this was before the creek began to go dry because of the extended time without rain), the batteries were filled again and plans made to replace the ruined ones (at over $120 each). I know little or nothing about the power system. I now know to check the batteries regularly and keep the water level up.

But it wasn’t as bad as we initially thought. George began researching and discovered that the new generation of batteries can be renewed from such a catastrophe. It is called something like “desulphating” and involves applying a heavy charge to the affected units thereby blasting the accumulated sulphur off the battery walls (but don’t quote me on that since I am not a battery mavin).

For about three weeks George has had the generator running several hours each day zapping the battery bank. That cost a pretty penny in gasoline but not near as much as replacing all those batteries would have cost.

We are now back in optimum working condition … with new awareness of the importance of water to our power situation.

~~~

George is being careful with his back … but yesterday he felt able to drop a leaning tree for firewood. I was out there, ostensibly to take pictures.

Dropping a tree is always exciting. I listen for the first creak which means wood fibers are breaking.

I did take pictures …

Start

the start of the cut …Break

the first creak …

Down

and down …

~~~

Spinzilla is just around the corner … midnight 4-5 October through midnight 11-12 October. Donna at the WebSters in Ashland is again sponsoring a team. It costs ten dollars to register, but this year Donna paid for twenty-five spinners so I’m not sure whether she wants to collect from us or is writing it off to public relations.

Last year, the Woolery gave a BIG discount to any Spinzilla spinner who bought fiber from them (I still have some carded Merino which I want to use to experiment with shaded dyeing). This year more retailers are doing something similar, including Donna. So I wouldn’t mind paying the ten dollars. I’d probably get more than that back in discounts and have enough fiber to hold me clear through winter and into summer.

spinningSome of the fiber I will be spinning this year arrived yesterday. Getting it this early allows me plenty of time to get it all drafted and ready to spin.

It is more of that Blue-faced Leister with silk and bamboo from the Fiber Imp in Alberta, Canada. I have begun spinning it, but just a couple of ounces, in order to average the length I spin per ounce so I will have a handle on counting my yards spun during THE week. What I spin now won’t count toward my Spinzilla entry.

I have about a quarter pound and plan to get at least another half pound. Even if it doesn’t get used during Spinzilla, it won’t go to waste. I already have my eye on a shawl pattern for it. Maybe even an entry in next year’s county fair. 

My total for Spinzilla last year was about 3.5 miles (6,192 yards). I’ll do better this year and I’ll do it all on my own … without working long hours (there was one spinner back east who averaged 12 hours a day) or having others do the scut work like wrapping yarn onto a niddy noddy to count length. Can you tell I was a bit miffed at the spinner in Blue Lake who had her children doing all the additional stuff, including preparing meals, so all she had to do was spin?

Oh well …

~~~

Last week, On PBS’ “Great Performances”, we watched the summer concert of the Weiner Philharmoniker (the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra). It was heavy this year with Scandinavian composers, mainly Grieg and Sibelius. It must be some anniversary or other … I don’t know what.

We enjoyed the hour and a half. But as I listened, my mind wandered a bit and left me with several things to ponder.

Much of the music was familiar and that made me think how lucky I was to be exposed to “classical” music so early in my life. I was young during WW II when most of the men, including musicians and composers, were in the service (back then there was a universal draft … not a collection of volunteers … so most everyone went). As a result, movie music leaned heavily on the old reliables. I heard Tchaikovsky and Chopin and Grieg and Rachmaninoff and Bizet and Rossini and deFalla and Brahms and Lehar and Mozart and Rimsky-Korsakoff and Verdi and the Strausses and so many others. I even had to take a music appreciation class my first semester at Cal.

I was blessed.

Young people nowadays would have to look hard for that music (unless they have elders who force it on them). Classical music radio stations have almost entirely disappeared, so what the young hear day to day is rap and hiphop and Gaga and Beiber and Cyrus and so many others whose names and music I don’t know because I don’t appreciate their offerings … not that all of it is worthless, but a lot of it is degrading and dis-ing (and alarmingly misogynistic). The young are missing so much.

Another thought was … when performing a concerto for a single instrument and orchestra, who makes the final decision about style and meter etc, … the soloist or the conductor? One piece on last friday’s program was Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. The soloist was Rudoph Bukbinder. The conductor was Zubin Mehta. The pace was a bit different from the sound I carry in my head (it’s like when I hear Gershwin’s Rhapsody or the Concerto in F, I always compare it to the Oscar Levant recordings I played over and over and over and still love). and I wonder who decided … Bukbinder or Mehta?

Another thought (question?) … now that there are increasing numbers of women in the big orchestras, who decides how they dress for performance? In some orchestras they wear black formal dresses of any and all styles, in others their dresses are of a mix of colours. In the Weiner Philharmoniker, they were in black suits like the men, but with black shirts (blouses?) and without white ties. Interesting.

I didn’t miss a note, even though my thoughts shared space with the music.

And did I mention I was spinning?

~~~

Sunrise is getting later …Sunrise 2 Sept 2015

Eddy - 2 Sept 2015and the view is clear this morning.

~~~

Time for the thought for the week …

 

If you look for the light, you can find it.

If you look for the dark, that is all you will see.

 

So …

                ’til next week …

26 August 2015

A bit late, but …

Welcome to the new blog spot. Hope you like the new look.

Let’s get started …

~~~

 

On our way out to and back from the MSARC meeting last wednesday, a couple of things caught my eye.

All along the road there are climate stressed trees … both evergreen and deciduous. The evergreens have patches of brown and some have fallen victim to pine beetles. The deciduous, such as the dogwoods and birches, have begun to make the change to autumn colours early.

The reservoir water level has dropped dramatically in a very short time. We are already seeing the rock pilings for the old Durney Creek lumber mill. The reservoir will most likely be dry (again) in less than a month.

The waxing new moon was redder than any eclipse I’ve ever seen which made for a rather eerie sky.

Even the red wire swamp grass, which indicates water less than a foot below ground level, is dry and brown.

~~~

We learned the TinMan Triathlon, which has been a Labor Day fixture in the radio club summer schedule for too many years to remember (actually 30), has been cancelled. It is not clear whether that decision is a one-year thing or a from-now-on thing. I suspect, sadly, it is the latter.

The event was cancelled last year because the water level in Lake Siskiyou was too low to allow for the swimming part of the event. This year (with less than two and a half weeks to go) there have been only 11 sign-ups, the air quality has been mostly not good, and the water level is no better than it was last year.

Chalk up another loss to climate change.

Too bad. That was my yearly indulgence in hardcore black coffee (Navy style, i.e. peel the enamel off your teeth) and bad-for-you pastry. Poor me.

Oh well …

~~~

Last saturday we did the radio coverage for the Headwaters event. The air quality had been really awful for more than a week and I was afraid the event would go the way of the TinMan, but the air cleared (mostly) and the event went off well. It is still small (fewer than 100 runners overall), but every runner had nothing but praise … for support, for the feed, for the course … and word of mouth will spread.
There were 10 drop-outs during the long race. Only one was injured. The rest had just over-estimated their current ability. There was one finisher who said it was a more difficult run than he had anticipated. He was using this run as warm-up for another run next month and decided it should have been the other way around.

Brace Runner

One of the 10K “runners” was wearing a brace on one leg. He finished last (his wife ran the 50K), but he was smiling and was ahead of all us who didn’t even start.

At one point a herd of deer came out of the woods heading for a drink at the lake. As they were returning to the woods, there were three bucks (with rather impressive racks) strolling across the trail as a runner came around the corner. The runner decided challenging the bucks’ right-of-way was not a good idea and stopped to wait. Good decision, I think. Those racks really were impressive.

Two runners had brought dogs to run with them (with the approval of the organizers and with instructions to keep their dogs on leashes and carry “pick up” bags). As one runner-dog combo reached the High Divide station, the radio operators reported the runner’s number followed by number K-9. Gave me a giggle.

I guess I’m missing Darby. Sunday morning I dreamt about a pup choosing me.

The one dark spot in the day was that the opera was “Thais” … and I missed it. The Meditation is a favorite of mine.

~~~

We were in Medford last monday for a retinologist appointment. What an interesting day.

We saw a new doctor. The practice is so big they added a doctor trained at the NIH in Washington DC. He is YOUNG, skinny and tall (built like a runner) with big hands and feet (reminded me of a puppy not yet grown to match the size of his paws), soft spoken (but a bit distant), clear, ready to answer questions, and hyper-concerned about infection rates.

Once he had George’s eye prepped and propped open, ready for the injection, talking was forbidden. He had told George that once things were ready, he was not to talk. I thought the reason was movement of George’s head. I spoke aloud and was immediately hushed and an extra drop of antiseptic was put in George’s eye.

When the injection was complete, the doctor explained the majority of infections following this type of treatment were caused by agents found in the mouth and nose and he prefers no talking in order to reduce the risk of aerosol droplets. I apologized for speaking since I didn’t understand the instructions or the reason behind them. The doctor was gracious.

Seems a bit extreme to me. If that is a real concern, why weren’t we all wearing masks? But he’s young and enthusiastic. Only drawback that I can see is that George’s eye wept more than usual and was glued shut tuesday morning (probably the extra Betadine – I won’t speak out again). But George liked him, so all is well.

The smoke situation was quite varied. Here at home the air was clear … clearer than it has been in quite some time.

Smoke LayerAs we went north, we could see the layer of smoke.

By Yreka, visibility was about a mile, then it cleared slightly.

But as we dropped down into the Rogue Valley … bad air time. The smoke was so thick (probably coming up the Hwy 3 corridor from the fires in Trinity and other counties) we weren’t able to see the surrounding mountains in any direction. George commented that we might as well have been in Kansas.

Air quality in southern Oregon and Yreka has been in the “Dangerous” zone for many days.

One thing I noticed was that Oregon’s trees are having as hard a time as ours … stressed and dead. In the past, Oregon didn’t have a water problem. This year is different.

Renewal

Still, here at Cold Comfort there are subtle signs of renewal (that’s a new tree growing in the heart of a tree burned out in the last big fire).

~~~

The anniversary of the birth of Ray Bradbury was last saturday. He would have been 95. What a mind! 

Once, when asked why he wrote science fiction, his reply was …

“The way to teach in this world is to pretend you’re not teaching. Science fiction offers the chance to pretend to look the other way while teaching. Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and the present. You can criticize any clear and present danger, and they can’t imagine you are writing about them.”
— Ray Bradbury, Playboy interview (1996)

A very good reason to read scifi … starting with Bradbury followed by Asimov.

~~~

Jimmy Carter is continuing to give us life lessons. His life since his “loss” to Reagan has been an example of real Christianity … do for others rather than make as much money as you can. I don’t begrudge him his pension at all, although I can’t say the same for the others.

Now he is sharing lessons in grace and acceptance. I see the notes on FaceBook asking for prayers for healing. He doesn’t need prayers for healing. He’s fine. He’s not worried about his credentials. I get the impression his only regret is leaving Rosalynn.

So … thank you, Mr. President. May you have a mercy journey.

~~~

26 August 2015

The morning sun on Mt Eddy and in the meadow was clear and lovely this morning …

Purple Beauties

and the beautiful, small, purple aster-like meadow flowers are in bloom.

So …

Feel a sense of awe by frequently contemplating the size and complexity of the universe.

‘Til next week …